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AEs Navigating the Information Highway

I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve felt like road kill on the information highway. Just about the time I figure out how to drive one new tool, another comes along. I was in total technology panic at the Association Executives Institute in Vancouver when Terry Penza told us she would be using text messaging for emergencies. Thank God we didn’t have any! I still haven’t figured out how to text a message, but I’m working on it.

(By the way, I want to thank Terry Penza and Brad Scott, our co-deans of the ’05 AE Institute, for all their hard work. It really was one of the best Institutes ever. Thanks also to the AEI subcommittee members for their time and incredible talent. We will long remember the lessons learned and time spent together in Vancouver.)

Twenty-two years ago, when I started my job in St. Paul, everyone had IBM electric type­writers. A couple of us even had self-correcting ribbons (I had one of those. Cool, eh?) A few years later came the memory writers, then data terminals, then computers, then cell phones, and on and on. And then Al Gore invented the Internet and our whole world changed.

Now, I look around my office trying to figure out how my computer connects to the Internet without any wires. I’m told my cell phone is an antique that needs to be upgraded. Do I want to use it to take pictures, take and play videos, send and receive text messages or e-mails, make appointments, talk to Sputnik? All I want to do is make a call. I’m so confused, I’m afraid even to go shopping for a new one.

I know I’m not alone in my technology angst. So, in this issue, you and I will find solutions and tools that we can use to get up to speed on the information highway. One of our most valuable resources is NAR’s Center for Realtor® Tech­nology. Mark Lesswing, the center’s leader, and his staff are more than willing to help answer questions—and they’ll even do it in English so we can understand the answers.

Here in St. Paul, we decided to outsource our technology services a long time ago and partnered with a local company, Success Computer Consulting, for all our technology needs. Success Computer not only helps with our internal needs, it also provides technology services to our members. The company even leases space in our building, making it easy to provide direct hands-on service. The members love it. If you have the financial means, you might want to hire your own IT staff, or share staff with neighboring associations.

If you’re experiencing some degree of difficulty navigating through all the technology around you, just think of what some of our less-seasoned members are going through. It’s up to us to help them. In this issue, there are some great ideas on how to use technology. If after reading it you still have questions, do what I do: Use a lifeline and call one of your fellow AEs. They are always willing to help.

See you around the Web.

Keith Holm
EO, St. Paul Area Association
of Realtors®,
2005 AEC Chair

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